Identification and Characterization of Phenolic and Flavonoids Compounds Extracted from Tunisian Pomegranate Fruit Peel Exposed to Air Pollution: Gabes City, Tunisia

Document Type : Original Research Paper


1 Drylands and Oases Cropping Laboratory, Institute of Arid Regions of Mednine, Gabes University, Tunisia

2 Department of Horticultural Sciences and Landscape, High Institute of Agronomic Sciences of Chott Meriem, Sousse University, Tunisia


The pomegranate (Punica granatum) fruit peel exposed to mixture air pollutants were collected from two sites with different air quality around the industrial area of Gabes city, Tunisia. The first site presented the ‘Polluted site’, which is situated in the oasis close to the industrial area. While, the second site referred to the ‘Control site’ located at 37 km from the industrial area. Using HPLC ES-MS, 21 phenols were identified and quantified in methanol extract from pomegranate fruit peel. The results showed that various phytochemical substances, including phenols acids and flavonoids, were identified and quantified in the peel extract. The polyphenols content and the flavonoids contents in peel obtained from polluted site were higher than that collected from the control site. The concentrations of the identified polyphenols were ranged between 0.39 and 7803.68 mg/ kg DW. The stimulation of some free phenolic compounds such syringic acid, transfrulic acid, epicatechin, rutin and quercetin was enregistred only in peel collected from contaminated environment. The quali-qualitative changes between sites are probably related to the difference in the air quality. The increase of polyphenols could be implicated during adaptive mechanisms under air pollution. Phenolic composition changes in Punica granatum peel could be also suggested as useful approach air pollution monitoring.


Abid, M., Yaich, H., Cheikhrouhou, S., Khemkhem, I., Bouaziz, M., Attia, H. and Ayadi, M.A. (2017). Antioxidant propreties and phenolic profile characterization by Lc-MS/MS of selected Tunisian pomegranate peels. J. Food. Sci. Technol., 54 (9); 2890-2901.
Ali, I., Alothman, Z. and Alwarthan, A., (2017). Uptake of propranolol on ionic liquid iron nanocomposite adsorbent: kinetic, thermodynamics and mechanism of adsorption. J. Mol., 236; 205-213.
Azzazy, MF. (2020). Plant bioindicators of pollution in Sadat City, Western Nile Delta, Egypt. PLoS ONE., 15 (3); 1-17.
Ben Atia-Zrouga, K., Mendes, M., Falcao, A., Drid, B., Hachicha, M.and Allouchekhebour, F. (2021). Mapping Heavy Metal ( Cu , Zn , and Pb ) Pollution and Ecological Risk Assessment , in the Surroundings of Gabes Cement Plant, Tunisia. Int. J, Phytoremediation., 1–8.
442 Ben Amor et al.
Ben Abdallah, F., Elloumi, N., Mezghani, I., Boukhris, M. and Garrec, G.P. (2006). Survival strategies of pomegranate and almond trees in a fluoride polluted area. C.R. Biol., 329 (1); 200–207.
Ben Amor, A., Elloumi, N., Chaira, N. and Nagaz, K ., (2018) a . Survival strategies of pomegrante and Date palm trees exposed to air fluoride pollution. June 2018 . Third meeting in air pollution effects research on Mediterranean ecosystems (Pamplona , Spain).
Ben Amor, A., Elloumi, N., Chaira, N. and Nagaz, K ., (2018)b. Morphological and physiological changes induced in the date palm trees (Phoenix dactylifera) exposed to atmospheric fluoride Pollution. Tunis. J. Plant. prot 13 (special issue); 11-22.
Borycka, B.˙I.; Borycki, J. and Zuchowski, J. (1990). Metal sorption capacity of fibre preparation from fruit pomace. Polish J. Food Nutri. Sci., 1 (7); 67–76.
Boscaiu, M., Bautista,I., Donat, P. and Cluj-napoca, V. M. (2014). Phenolic compounds as stress markers in plants from gypsum habitats., 67 (1); 1843-5394.
Chakrabatri, S., Patra, P.K. (2013). Effect of fluoride on superoxide dismutase activity in four common crop plants. Fluoride., 46 (2); 59-62.
Dhiman, A., Nanada, A. and Ahmad, S. (2011). Metal analysis in citrus sinensis fruit peel and Psidium Guajava leaf .Toxicol Int., 180 (2); 163-167.
Diaz, J ., Bernal, A., Pomar, F. and Merino, F. (2001). Induction of shikimate dehydrogenase and peroxidase in pepper (Capsicum annum L.) seedlings in response to copper stress and its relation to lignification. Plant Sci., 161 (1); 179-188.
El Zrelli, R., Courjault-Radé, P., Rabaoui, L., Castet, S., Michel, S. and Bejaoui, N. (2015). Heavy metal contamination and ecological risk assessment in the surface sediments of the coastal area surrounding the industrial complex of Gabes city, Gulf of Gabes, SE Tunisia. Marine pollution bulletin.,101 (2); 922-929.
Elfalleh, W., Nasri, N., Marzougui, N., Thabti, I., M’rabet, A., Yahya, Y., Lachiheb, B.,Guasmi, F. and Ferchichi, A. (2009). Physico-chemical properties and DPPH-ABTS scavenging activity of some local pomegranate (Punica granatum) ecotypes. Int. J. Food Sci. Nutr., 60 (2); 197–210.
Elfalleh, W., Hannachi, H., Tlili, N., Yahia, Y., Nasri, N. and Ferchichi, A . (2012). Total phenolic contents and antioxidant activities of pomegranate peel, seed , leaf and flower. J. Med. Plan Res., 6 (32); 4724-4730.
Elloumi, N., Ben Amor, A., Zouari, M., Belhaj, D., Ben Abdallah, F., Kallel, M. (2016). Adaptive biochemical responses of Punica granatum to atmospheric fluoride pollution. Fluoride., 49 (3); 357–365.
Emna, A. (2010). Impulser l'investissement agriocle privé. Magazine presse économique Tunisie., 3;15-16.
Gasmi, A., Benabderrahim, M., Guasmi, F., Elfalleh, W., Triki, T., Zammouri, T. and Ferchichi A . (2019). Phenolic profiling, sugar composition and antioxidant capacity of arta (Calligonum Comosum L.), a wild tunisian desert Plant. Ind Crops Prod .,130., 436–442.
Ghnaya, T., Zaier, H., Baiaoui, R ., Sghaier, S., Lucchini, G., Attilino Sacchi, G., and Abdely C. (2013). Implication of organic acids in the long-distance transport and the accumulation of lead in Sesuvium portulacastrum and Brassica juncea. Chemosphere., 90; 1449-1454.
Gullon, B ., Pintado, M.E and Viuda-Martos, M.(2016). Assessment of phenolic profile and antibterial activity of pomegrate peel (Punica granatum) flour obtaines from coproduct of juice extraction. Food control., 59; 94-89.
Haj-Amor, Z., Dhaouadi, L., Kim, D.G, Anlauf, R. and Mokaddem, N.(2020). Effects of Climate Change on Key Soil Characteristics and Strategy to Enhance Climate Resilience of Smallholder Farming : An Analysis of a Pomegranate ‑ Field in a Coastal Tunisian Oasis. Environ. Earth Sci., 79 (19); 1–16.
Pollution 2021, 7(2): 435-444 443
Hamdi, I., Denis, M., Bellaaj-Zouari, A., Khemakhem, H, Bel Hassen, M., Hamza, A., Barani, A., Bezac, C. and Maaleja, S. (2014). The characterisation and summer distribution of ultra phytoplankton in the Gulf of Gabès (Eastern Mediterranean Sea, Tunisia) by using flow cytometry. Cont. Shelf Res., 93;27–38.
Hasnaoui, N., Wathelet, B. and Jiménez-Araujo, A. (2014). Valorization of pomegranate peel from 12 cultivars: dietary fibre composition, antioxidant capacity and functional properties. Food Chem., 160, 196–203.
Jeddi, K. and Chaieb, M . (2019). Fluoride biomonitoring around an industrial phosphate factory using bark and leaves from different trr species in arid southern Tunisia. Fluoride., 52 (4);1-10.
Khairallah, Y., Houri, T., Osta, B., Ramanos, D. and Hadda, G. (2018). Biomonitoring airbone pollution: a case study of ''Urginea maritima'' species in Bentael natural reserve-Lebanon. J. Taibah Univ Sci.,12 (6); 723-729.
Kharchoufi, S., Licciardello, F., Siracusa, L., Muratore, G., Hamdi, M. and Restuccia, C. (2018). Antimicrobial and antioxidant features of ‘Gabsiʼ pomegranate peel extracts.Ind Crop Prod .,111; 345-352.
Li, Y., Guo, C., Yang, J., Wei, J., Xu, J. and Cheng, S.(2006). Evaluation of antioxidant properties of pomegranate peel extract in comparaison with pomegrante pulp extract. Food Chem., 96 (2); 254-260.
Mallampati, R., Xuanjun, L., Adin, A. and Valiyaveettil, S. (2015). Fruit peels as efficient renewable adsorbents for removal of dissolved heavy metals and dyes from water. Acs Sustainable Chem .Eng., 3 (6); 1117-1124.
Mansour, E., Khaled, A., Ben Lachiheb, B., Abid, M., Bachar, K. and Ferchichi, A.(2013). Phenolic compounds, antioxidant, and antibacterial activities of peel extract from Tunisian pomegranate. J. Agr. Sci. Tech.,15; 1393–1403.
Mars, M. (2001). Genetic resources of pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) in Tunisia: prospection, conservation and diversity analysis. Doctoral dissertation. PhD thesis in natural sciences , University of El Manar, Tunisia.
Mukherjee, S., Chakraborty, A., Mondal, S., Saha, S., Haque, A. and Paul, S . (2019). Assessment of common plant parameters as biomarkers of air pollution. Environl Moni and Assess., 191 (6);1- 8.
Murthy, C.K.N., Reddy, KV., Jyothi, M., Veigas, J.M ., Uma, D . and Murthy, U.D. (2004) Study on wound healing activity of Punica granatum . J.of Medicinal Food .,7 (2); 256- 259.
Rahmani, R., Jalloul, B., Jouaidi, M and Debouba, M. 2020. African Mustard (Brassica Tournefortii) as Source of Nutrients and Nutraceuticals Properties. Journal of Food Science., 85 (6); 1856–71.
Rai, R., Agrawal, M. and Agrawal, SB . (2007). Assessment of yield losses in tropical wheat using open top chambers. Atmospheric Research., 41 (40); 9543 -9554.
Seyyednejad, S. M., Motamedi, H. and Lordifard, P. (2017). Biochemical changes of Conocarpus erectus (combretaceae) in response to gas refinery air pollution as an air pollution indicator. Pollution, 3(2), 185-190..
Sharma, A., Shahrazad, B., Rehman, A., Bhardwaj, R., Landi, M. and Zheng, B . (2019). Response of phenylpropanoid pathway and the role of polyphenols in plants under abiotic stress. Moleculs., 24 (13); 2452.
Singelton, V.L and Rossi, J.A. (1965) .Colorimetry of total phenolics with phosphomolybdic-phosphotungstic acid reagents. Am. J. Enol.Vitic., 16 (3); 144-158.
Silva da, J.A.T., Rana, T.S., Narzary, D., Verma, N., Meshram, D.T. and Ranade, S.A. (2013). Pomegranate Biology and Biotechnology: A Review. Scientia Horticulturae., 160; 85–107.
Stojanovic´, B., Mitic, S., Stojanovic´, G., Mitic , M., Kostic, Danijela., Paunovic,D., Arsic, B. and Pavlovic, A. (2017). Phenolic profiles and metal ions analyses of pulp and peel of fruits and seeds of quince ( Cydonia oblonga Mill ). Food Chem., 232; 466–475.
444 Ben Amor et al.
Sytar, O., Kumar, A., Latowski, D., Kuczynska, P., Strzalka, K. and Prasad, M . (2013). Heavy metal-induced oxidative damage, defense reactions, and detoxification mechanisms in plants. Acta Physiol Plant., 35 (4); 985–999.
Szwajgier D, Pielecki J and Targon´ski Z (2005). Antioxidant activities of cinnamic and benzoic acid derivatives. Acta Sci Pol Technol Aliment., 4 (2); 129–144.
Taieb, D. and Ben Brahim, A. (2014). Chemistry and mineralogy studies of PM10 atmospheric aerosols in the Gulf of Gabès, South Tunisia. Int J Energ Tech Pol., 10 (2); 125–144.
Tayibi, H., Choura, M., Lopez, FA., Alguacil, FJ. and Lopez-Delgado, A ., 2009. Environmental impact and management of phosphogypsum. J. Environ. Manag., 90 (8); 2377-2386.
Teixeira da Silva., Ranac, T.S., Narzaryd ,D., Vermae, N., Meshramf, D.T. and Ranade, S.A. (2013). Pomegranate Biology And Biotechnology: A Review. Scientia Horticulturae., 160; 85–107.
Veljkovic, V., Pavlovic, A .,Mitic, S .,Tosic, S ., Stajanovic, G ., Kalicanin, B. and Brcanovic, J. (2013). Evaluation of individual phenolic compounds and antioxidant propreties of black , green, herbla and fruit tea infusions consumed in Serbia:Spectrophotometrical and electrochemical approaches. J of food and nutrition Research ., 52 (1); 12-24.
Verma, N., Mohanty, A. and Lal, A. (2010). Pomegrante genetic resources and germ plasm conservation : a review. Fruit.Veg. Cereal. Sci. Biotech., 4 (2); 120-125.
Yamaji, K., Julkunen-Tiitto, R., Rousi, M., Freiwald, V. and Oksanen, E . (2003). Ozone exposure over two growing seasons alters root-to-shoot ratio and chemical composition of birch (Betula pendula Roth). Global Change Biology., 9 (10); 1363–1377.
Winkel El-Shirly. (2002) Biosynthesis of flavonoids and effects of stress Curr Opin Plant . Biol.,5 (3); 23-812
Zaouay, F., Mena, P., Garcia-Viguera, C. and Mars, M. (2012). Antioxydant activity and physico-chemical propreties of Tunisian grown pomegranate (Punica granatum L.) cultivars. Indus. Crops. Prod., 40; 81-89.
Zhou, Y., Jiang, Z., Lu, H., Xu, Z., Tong, R and Jia, G. (2019). Recen advances of natural polyphenols activators for keap 1-Nrf2 signating pathway.Chem. Biodivers.16 (11); e1900400.
Zouari, M., Elloumi, N., Mezghani, I., Labrousse, P., Ben Rouina , B., Ben Abdalah, F and Ben Ahmed, C. (2017).A comparative study of air pollution tolerance index (APTI) of some fruit plant species growing in the industrial area of sfax, Tunisia. Pollution., 4 (3); 439-446.